Is buying made in the USA fishing tackle worth your wallet?
Quite often, when I write about various fishing tackle, some readers say they wish the item in question was made in the USA. They would be much happier buying a product made in the country. They would like to support American jobs in the fishing tackle industry. So this morning, I’m going to give you a chance to put your money where your mouth is.
American-made fishing tackle is far from dead. Certainly, the giant and global brands such as Daiwa, Shimano, Rapala and many others depend, for the most part, on factories abroad (usually Asian). But look around a bit and you’ll find plenty of quality gear made here at home – hooks, lines and sinkers. Here are some examples.
Fishing lures are the toughest, but there are still notable examples. One is Dardevle spoons (pictured here). Eppinger Manufacturing in Michigan is in its third generation of family ownership and continues to manufacture spoons by the millions each year. Want to support American manufacturing? Buy more Dardevles.
Now let’s get to the hook, line and sinker part. Bullet Weights, a leading manufacturer of a wide range of sinkers, was founded in Nebraska in 1970. Manufacturing is still done there. For fishing line, look no further than Spirit Lake, Iowa, where I once marveled at giant Berkley extrusion machines pumping out mile after mile of Trilene monofilament. And when it comes to hooks, you can’t do better than Eagle Claw, who manufacture a wide range of excellent hooks in their factory in Colorado.
One of my favorite rod companies is St. Croix Rod in Park Falls, Wisconsin. I say favorite because it’s still family run, and I know and love the three brothers in charge: Paul, Jeff and David Schluter. They make rods for just about every possible freshwater and saltwater use, the majority of which come out of their factory in Wisconsin. And yes, some of their low-end uppers come from a new factory in Mexico – business is business, after all.
Reels are another difficult issue, as most are imported. But there is at least one source for American-made spinning and baitcasting reels: Ardent. This company is based in Missouri and, yes, actually manufactures both types of reels in the United States. Ardent reels are competitive in price, quality and performance with major import brands. I used them, that’s how I know.
I have only scratched the surface and there are many more examples, even in fly fishing, where (mostly) domestically made brands such as Loomis, Orvis, Sage and Winston continue to grow despite the growing popularity of lower-end, cheaper ones. imports of fly rods.
This brings us to a final point. There’s a lot of great hardware made in the USA. Sometimes (not always) it is more expensive than imported products. It’s easy to talk about supporting American jobs. But what if that support makes a bigger dent in your wallet?